River to Ridge Trail Plan -Asheville, NC
Asheville, North Carolina
Pisgah SORBA is partnering with the City of Asheville and other community partners to create a system of natural surface trails within City owned and/or managed properties throughout the River Arts District, Beaucatcher Mountain and Azalea Park. This trail system is called the River to Ridge Trails.
River to Ridge Trails is about making connections to the city, people and places with natural surface trails. The proposed trails would be constructed on (4) pieces of city-owned/managed lands; (1.) The Mountainside Park/Beaucatcher Mountain (~55 acres); (2.) The City leased (99 year lease) Duke Energy Property (~46 Acres), which exist on the west side of The French Broad River immediately adjacent to the River Arts District, New Belgium Brewing and the newly completed RADTIP greenway; (3.) the Bacoate Branch drainage, which was originally proposed as a greenway, but which the city is open for considering for natural surface trails and (4.) Azalea Park (~100 acres) located in eastern Asheville along the Swannanoa River. These natural surface trails would vary in width from 3 to 6 feet depending on the use type, available space and traffic volume as defined in the Trails Plan.
Currently there is a nationwide trend that ranks access to unpaved trails as a "highly desirable" amenity for community and recreation development. In order to provide safe and sustainable unpaved trails, funding is needed for planning and development, hiring an experienced and professional trail builder, materials acquisition, trail signage, parking, and promotions and advertising. Funds from this grant would pay for a member of the Professional Trail Builder Association and trail planner to develop a plan that integrates stakeholder input, develop a design and an opinion of probable cost for the project. The community partners will need this to move forward into a fundraising campaign. The City of Asheville is seeking and will continue to seek public input through their Greenway Master Plan update and will coordinate with any other public input needed for this project.
The incorporation of urban, multi use trails like River to Ridge in Asheville could be the perfect platform for programs such as the Asheville on Bikes After School Bike Program and Catalyst Sports, both with purposes of giving more people access to riding bikes safely. Asheville on Bikes After School Program could utilize the trails and teach Asheville Middle School students basic skills and how to mountain bike. Catalyst Sports is dedicated to connecting and assisting those with disabilities to connect with outdoor adventure. They have a program that provides adaptive bikes to people with disabilities. They hope to use their adaptive bikes to do programming on trails within the Asheville Unpaved system. The River to Ridge Trail Plan, if implemented, will provide great recreation opportunities for Buncombe residents of all ages and abilities, providing health and wellness benefits for everyone interested in biking, jogging and walking and provide an alternative transit option within the community. These trails will be centrally located; within proximity to (3) public housing neighborhoods, (3) schools, the medical district, and downtown Asheville.
A natural surface trail network that includes the River to Ridge system would provide more trails closer to the center of population and urban areas. It will lead to a stronger health and wellness component within the local community, less cars on the roads, and a potential economic impact of millions of dollars per year to the local economy. This project has the support of many community groups including non-profits, local businesses, schools and the City of Asheville.
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